Billy Joel has been selected to receive the sixth Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress.

The Gershwin Prize For Popular Song “celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding.” The recipient is chosen by the Librarian of Congress based upon recommendations from a board made up of scholars, producers, performers, music critics, songwriters and music specialists.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, said “Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music. When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again.”

Joel issued his own statement, saying “The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career and the Library’s decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me.”

Paul Simon was awarded the inaugural Gershwin Prize. Since that time, the award has gone to Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and, last year, Carole King.

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